As some of you may know the Annual Battle of Murder Creek is quite the tradition in the cities of Brewton and East Brewton, Alabama. Between the two cities, separated by Murder Creek, the population is approximately 8,500 give or take a few hundred. Each year the week of the Battle of Murder Creek (BOMC) there are your normal shenanigans that always seem to happen to the same people. This year though, this year would be different in many ways. This year there was another "wrinkle" thrown in to the BOMC that is sure to become a staple of these two communities. This year there was the "Battle on the Bridge".
Every year as far back as anyone can remember the Thursday night before the BOMC has always been kind of a rite of passage where students from both schools and kids errrr adults from across both cities would take jabs at one another in their own special way. Twenty five years ago that week was very different than today. Back in those days, you couldn't walk in a store in Brewton or East Brewton and find eggs or balloons. The store owners paid their yearly contribution to our community by hiding those commodities for the week. The fact was that anything you needed for Miller/Neal week had already been purchased and ready to go the week before. The pranks were mostly harmless, all in good fun and those memories will live with those that participated forever.
The Thursday before the 2017 BOMC would bring a new tradition to our community. A tradition that I hope will bring both of our communities together for many years to come. I remember having a conversation with David Jennings (DJ) a few years ago about how cool it would be to have a show on the bridge over Murder Creek the Thursday night before the game. DJ agreed such a show would be cool to do from there but neither of us had any idea how we would ever be able to pull off such a show. There are a lot of moving parts to doing a show with multiple cameras, microphones, and lighting in addition to closing down a heavily traveled bridge is not exactly discussed in everyday conversation.
The possibility of doing a show on the bridge was discussed during the initial concept meeting for the Go Big Blue Coach's Show with Coach Williams and James Grantham. However, at the time we were trying to work out the details of the coach's show and the BOMC was a couple of months down the road. After several more meetings we worked out the details of GO BIG BLUE and we were off to start something new. We were both excited and nervous because everyone in town seemed to be asking and wondering what these two Miller boys were up to before that first GO BIG BLUE show. We had no idea how our show (or us for that matter) were going to be received by the Neal Nation.
Luckily, the first show went great and having Mayor Terry Clark of East Brewton sitting in as our first guest made the show that much more special. The next few weeks the shows and things started to come together better than we could have ever expected. About three weeks before the BOMC, I met with Mayor Clark to discuss the possibility of closing the bridge over Murder Creek for a few hours the Thursday night before the game and he quickly responded "no problem". Well, to say that I was excited would be an understatement. However, I was struck with fear immediately as I sat there trying to figure out how in the world was I going to be able to pull this thing off. After all it was my big mouth that had gotten BMP in this position to begin with and we didn't have any choice but to make it happen. There were tons of things to think about... lighting, location on the bridge, would anyone show up and last but certainly not least was the fact that BMP had never done anything like this EVER! As you can imagine, the closer we got to that show the more anxiety I started feeling. I just couldn't let anyone know how I was feeling as it was my job to make it happen.
Showtime! I wish I could say that the show came off without a hitch but we had a few audio issues to begin with at the start of the show. We worked through the issues and got it all ironed out for a great show. I thought it was awesome to be able to look around at the people on the bridge and look down at Murder Creek flowing underneath as players and fans young and old spoke about the game... THE GAME! You see this game is not just another game it's the right to brag for 365 days. It's the game that you hear about the guys that put everything they have to give and leave it on the field on a Friday night every year. The game that children grow up watching, waiting and hoping to have the chance to score a touchdown in. The game where legends are made and a few are made up. As I watched the guys come up one by one and tell who they were and what year they played I kept thinking to myself how great it is to live in a community where we CAN shut down a bridge and bring Neal and Miller fans, former players and future players together and talk about the one thing that growing up here we all have in common... THE GAME!